Drinking with Parents is “Protective” of Alcohol Abuse

by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.

Teenagers who report drinking alcohol with their parents are less likely than others to have either consumed alcohol or abused it in recent weeks according to a nation-wide study of over 6,200 teenagers in 242 communities across the U.S.

Drinking alcohol with parents “may help teach them responsible drinking habits or extinguish some of the ‘novelty’ or ‘excitement’ of drinking” according to senior researcher Dr. Kristie Long Foley of the School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. Dr. Foley describes drinking with parents as a “protective” behavior.

This finding is to be expected. Those societies and cultural groups with very high rates of drinking but very low rates of alcohol-related problems have certain common keys to success. One such protective key is that in such groups young people learn about moderate drinking from their parents and they do so from an early age.

In addition to teaching young people both how to drink and how not to drink, these groups avoid stigmatizing alcohol and strictly prohibit the abuse of alcohol.

The study was funded by the National Evaluation of the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program.

 

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